During a career that has spanned six decades, veteran newsman Mike Wallace has interviewed everyone from Lyndon Johnson to King Hussein to Vladimir Horowitz to Manuel Noriega. His career dates back to the 1940s, when he was a radio newswriter and broadcaster for the Chicago Sun, but he is most famous for his one-on-one interviews on CBS’s “60 Minutes.”
Following the September 11 terrorist attacks, media observers and the public held a range of opinions about the way news organizations handled coverage of the crisis. Some felt journalists should have been harder on government officials, asking more pointed questions about how decisions on counterterrorism had been made, but were deterred by patriotism. Others felt antiterrorism coverage should have been more judicious.
The creators of the Brookings/Harvard Forum on Press Coverage and the War on Terrorism, Marvin Kalb and Stephen Hess, interviewed Wallace on May 22 about a number of issues affecting television journalism today, including:
- The media’s performance since September 11 — have journalists been too patriotic and, therefore, too soft on the government’s handling of the crisis?
- The craft of journalism has changed over the last sixty years — how has it changed? What does its future look like?
- How did the media handle revelations that the Bush administration had advance warning of a possible terrorist hijacking?
During his appearance at Brookings, Wallace took questions from the audience.